Virginia – The Virginia teen was allegedly trying to steal hair dye, a change of clothes and a backpack from a store in Durham, North Carolina, when police arrested him Saturday evening.
But Levi Norwood, a 17-year-old high school junior, is accused of a far more disturbing crime than shoplifting. He has been charged with two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of his mother, Jennifer Norwood, 34, and his brother Wyatt Norwood, 6.
At a news conference Sunday, Fauquier County Sheriff Robert Mosier said investigators have yet to recover any guns used.
The victims were discovered by Levi Norwood’s father, Joshua Norwood, when he arrived home Friday evening shortly after 6 p.m. Some time after that, authorities said, Levi Norwood shot and injured his father, who ran outside and phoned 911.
Joshua Norwood was later hospitalized and in stable condition as of Saturday, though Mosier would not give an update on his status Sunday. Mosier also declined to discuss possible motives for the shooting, though he noted that there were no previous reports of 911 calls made from the Norwoods’ home while the family lived there.
After the teen allegedly wounded his father, authorities said Levi Norwood – described by authorities as 5 feet 9 inches tall, 125 pounds and with hair dyed purple – escaped into the rural countryside. Sheriff’s deputies surrounded the home just east of Route 17, believing Norwood had barricaded himself inside. But when deputies entered the home about 10:15 p.m., the teenager was gone, the sheriff’s office said.
The teenager traveled about 10 miles on foot before allegedly stealing a red 2007 Toyota Camry from a Fauquier resident’s home, authorities said. Police re-traced the boy’s steps through the efforts of one particularly dogged bloodhound, according to Fauquier County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. James Hartman.
Investigators said Levi Norwood drove the stolen car to North Carolina and was in the sporting goods section of a Durham store when employees called police to report a shoplifter. The Camry was discovered in the parking lot.
Mosier said Sunday the vehicle is being transported to Virginia for examination. Levi Norwood – now in the custody of Durham police – probably will be extradited to Virginia. He will face a hearing in North Carolina on Tuesday to begin the extradition process.
Over the course of Sunday, the teen’s grandmother, Ginny Norwood, published several heartbroken posts on Facebook.
"I love Levi still but Am so Confused," she wrote in one. "We are all empty pray for us."
The post earned hundreds of likes and supportive comments from friends. One woman who replied noted that she had started an online fundraiser to help pay funeral expenses; it had garnered $4,560 as of Sunday evening.
The family’s brick home sits on an unfenced lot with a trampoline and playhouse in the backyard. At dusk Sunday, a mobile crime unit with a satellite arm reaching nearly as high as the trees sat in the driveway and at least two sheriff’s deputies guarded the property, the perimeter of which was ringed in yellow police tape.
It was a jarring sight in this community, where neighbors cherish their privacy and the quiet. A neighbor who declined to be named said that residents largely keep to themselves. The man introduced himself to the Norwoods when they moved in last year but since then has not interacted with them.
Levi Norwood’s classmates at Liberty High School in Bealeton continued to express astonishment that he was charged with a double homicide.
Alex Kim, 16, said he has known Norwood since first grade. The two used to take taekwondo lessons together at the studio Kim’s parents own, though he said Norwood preferred hunting and fishing to martial arts.
While some students at Liberty High speculated that Norwood dyed his hair purple recently as a cry for help, Kim said the spontaneous dye job did not faze him because Norwood had done that before. Once, Kim recalled, Norwood came to school with his hair dyed neon green.
Kim heard about the shooting when a friend texted him a link to a local news story.
"I got super scared, honestly," Kim said, his voice shaking. "You always hear about horrible stuff happening, but when it’s someone you know, it’s just haunting. It hurts."
Kim said he wishes he could talk to Norwood.
"If I could, I would say something like, ‘You’re a good guy,’ " Kim said. " ‘Why’d you do this?’ "
The Washington Post